Our interest in this paper is to drive a wedge of contention between two different programs that fall under the umbrella of “experimental philosophy”. In particular, we argue that experimental philosophy’s “negative program” presents almost as significant a challenge to its “positive program” as it does to more traditional analytic philosophy.
Knobe's argument rests on a way of distinguishing performance errors from the competencies that delimit our cognitive architecture. We argue that other sorts of evidence than those that he appeals to are needed to illuminate the boundaries of our folk capacities in ways that would support his conclusions.
Ron Mallon explores how thinking and talking about kinds of person can bring those kinds into being. He considers what normative implications this social constructionism has for our understanding of our practices of representing human kinds, like race, gender, and sexual orientation, and for our own agency.
Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...) (Weinberg et al. 2001). In light of these findings on cultural differences, two experiments were conducted which explored intuitions about reference in Westerners and East Asians. Both experiments indicate that, for certain central cases, Westerners are more likely than East Asians to report intuitions that are consistent with the causal-historical view. These results constitute prima facie evidence that semantic intuitions vary from culture to culture, and the paper argues that this fact raises questions about the nature of the philosophical enterprise of developing a theory of reference. (shrink)
Recent work by Joshua Knobe has established that people are far more likely to describe bad but foreseen side effects as intentionally performed than good but foreseen side effects (this is sometimes called the 'Knobe effect' or the 'side-effect effect.' Edouard Machery has proposed a novel explanation for this asymmetry: it results from construing the bad side effect as a cost that must be incurred to receive a benefit. In this paper, I argue that Machery's 'trade-off hypothesis' is wrong. I (...) do this by reproducing the asymmetry between judgments about good and bad side effects in cases that cannot plausibly be construed as trade-offs. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychology and social constructionism are widely regarded as fundamentally irreconcilable approaches to the social sciences. Focusing on the study of the emotions, we argue that this appearance is mistaken. Much of what appears to be an empirical disagreement between evolutionary psychologists and social constructionists over the universality or locality of emotional phenomena is actually generated by an implicit philosophical dispute resulting from the adoption of different theories of meaning and reference. We argue that once this philosophical dispute is recognized, (...) it can be set to the side. When this is done, it becomes clear that the two approaches to the emotions complement, rather than compete with, one another. (shrink)
Alison Gopnik and her collaborators have recently proposed a bold and intriguing hypothesis about the relationship between scientific cognition and cognitive development in childhood. According to this view, the processes underlying cognitive development in infants and children and the processes underlying scientific cognition are _identical_. We argue that Gopnik’s bold hypothesis is untenable because it, along with much of cognitive science, neglects the many important ways in which human minds are designed to operate within a social environment. This leads to (...) a neglect of _norms_ and the processes of _social_ _transmission_ which have an important effect on scientific cognition and cognition more generally. (shrink)
This paper raises concern with the use of theories of reference in philosophical discourse and then to consider the possibility of empirically validating this concern by reference to a novel sort of “quantitative” empirical approach suggested recently by Shaun Nichols (forthcoming). The concern is whether the particular theories of reference or reference relations employed in particular philosophical discussions are actually chosen with a view to entailing or accommodating a desired philosophical outcome. I argue that such dependent selections of assumptions about (...) reference give us little reason to think the assumptions are true. I go on to argue that if we became convinced that such assumptions really are chosen simply to ensure a desired outcome, it would give us reason for skepticism about arguments from reference since it would undermine our sense that such arguments tracked any independent truth about the reference of our words or concepts. (shrink)
Since the introduction of the imitation game by Turing in 1950 there has been much debate as to its validity in ascertaining machine intelligence. We wish herein to consider a different issue altogether: granted that a computing machine passes the Turing Test, thereby earning the label of ``Turing Chatterbox'', would it then be of any use (to us humans)? From the examination of scenarios, we conclude that when machines begin to participate in social transactions, unresolved issues of trust and responsibility (...) may well overshadow any raw reasoning ability they possess. (shrink)
instead he argues for a conditional: "if there is such a thing as narrow content, it is holistic," where holism is taken to be "the doctrine that any _substantial_ difference in W-beliefs, whether between two people or between one person at two times, requires a difference in the meaning or content of W" (153, 152).
[ draft, later version under review ] Joe Campbell has identified an apparent flaw in van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument. It apparently derives a metaphysically necessary conclusion from what Campbell argues is a contingent premise: that the past is in some sense necessary. I criticise Campbell’s examples attempting to show that this is not the case (in the requisite sense) and suggest some directions along which an incompatibilist could reconstruct her argument so as to remain immune to Campbell’s worries.
Ronald Dworkin’s posthumous book Religion Without God searches for the possibility of atheistic religiosity. Rather than clarifying the situation, this book does more to confuse it, and succeeds in undermining his expressed humanitarian goals.
I will focus on Dworkin’s use of idealisation in his “Prudent Insurance” Ideal for healthcare. Dworkin identifies problems with the circumstances under which people make their insurance decisions in the current United States healthcare system and he sees these as being the cause of strange resource allocation outcomes. He therefore imagines idealising away these prima facie unjust circumstances to develop a hypothetical market in which people are able to make better decisions (Section “Idealisation of Circumstance”). I will identify two further (...) idealisations that Dworkin relies on in his theory. The first is to idealise people to be perfectly prudent (Section “Idealisation of Prudence”), which I consider to be justifiable, but difficult to actually apply in practise. The second is to idealise people to be perfectly self-interested (Section “Idealisation to Self-interest”). I do not see this as a justifiable idealization since it ignores principles of altruism and citizenship, which would seem to be deeply relevant to a theory of justice. (shrink)
Taking literally the concept of emotional truth requires breaking the monopoly on truth of belief-like states. To this end, I look to perceptions for a model of non-propositional states that might be true or false, and to desires for a model of propositional attitudes the norm of which is other than the semantic satisfaction of their propositional object. Those models inspire a conception of generic truth, which can admit of degrees for analogue representations such as emotions; belief-like states, by contrast, (...) are digital representations. I argue that the gravest problem-objectivity-is not insurmountable. /// [Adam Morton] It is accuracy rather than truth itself that is valuable. Emotional truth is a dubious though attractive notion, but emotional accuracy is much easier to make sense of. My approach to accuracy goes via an account of what makes a story accurate. Stories can be accurate but not true, and emotions can be accurate whether or not they are true. The capacity for emotional accuracy, for emotions that fit a person's situation, is an aspect of emotional intelligence, which is as important an aspect of rational human agency as the intelligent formation of beliefs and desires. (shrink)
Exploring Law's Empire is a collection of essays by leading legal theorists and philosophers who have been invited to develop, defend, or critique Ronald Dworkin's controversial and exciting jurisprudence. The volume explores Dworkin's critique of legal positivism, his theory of law as integrity, and his writings on constitutional jurisprudence. Each essay is a cutting-edge contribution to its field of inquiry, the highlights of which include an introduction by Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court, and a concluding (...) essay by Dworkin himself. This final chapter responds to the preceding essays and lays out Dworkin's own vision for the future of jurisprdence over the coming years. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to consider, in principle and at the most general level, a particular possible approach to educational policy‐making. This approach involves an education‐specific application of the notion of hypothetical markets first developed in Ronald Dworkin's book Sovereign Virtue: The theory and practice of equality . The paper distinguishes the concept of the market from the operation of any actual market, and from the operation of ‘market forces’ in any generalised sense. It continues by arguing (...) that hypothetical markets of the kind identified by Dworkin are not only distinct, in both their nature and purpose, from actual markets operating in education, but also—in the face of continuing widespread debate about the value, at particular times and places, of such actual markets—a potentially valuable theoretical tool for educational policy‐making. The paper then briefly considers a particular instance of such debate about actual markets in education. (shrink)
Se discute el proyecto de la naturalización de la filosofía de la ciencia, a través de las teorías de Ronald Giere y Philip Kitcher. Ambas tienen en común la atención preferente que prestan a los procesos de decisión de los científicos individuales y la defensa de una concepción realista y racionalista de la ciencia. La comparación se lleva a cabo desde una triple perspectiva: su consideración como teorías darwinianas del desarrollo científico, su referencia a los modelos de la psicología (...) cogni tiva, y su posible coherencia con la tesis de la simetría defendida por los sociólogos de la escuela de Edimburgo. (shrink)
In the last twenty years, beginning with a seminal paper by Dagfinn Follesdal published in 1969,1 analytic philosophy has shown a renewed and increasing interest in Husserl's phenomenology. 2 In Husserl and Inten- tionality, David Woodruff Smith and Ronald Mclntyre give an important contribution to this line of research. The book is written in the analytic tradition, and represents in part an attempt at making phenomenology palatable to those who look suspiciously at 'continental philosophy'. Thus it provides a double (...) service: it introduces phenomenology to an analytic public, and it shows to those raised in the opposite tradition what kind of reception their tradition has overseas. (shrink)
In his 2011 book Justice for Hedgehogs, Ronald Dworkin makes a case for the view that genuine values cannot conflict and, moreover, that they are necessarily mutually supportive. I argue that by prioritizing coherence over the conceptual authenticity of values, Dworkin’s ‘interpretivist’ view risks neglecting what we care about in these values. I first determine Dworkin’s position on the monism/pluralism debate and identify the scope of his argument, arguing that despite his self-declared monism, he is in fact a pluralist, (...) but unusual in denying conflict between plural values. I then set out the structure of his interpretive theory of value relations and present a case of value conflict which I think interpretivism cannot deal with. Following this I argue that there are structural reasons why cases like this are liable to occur and suggest that interpretivism will frequently fail to properly reflect people’s moral commitments because reinterpretation of values has the side effect of excluding important moral commitments from our conceptions of values. While, as Dworkin argues, there are no brute moral facts concerning values, moral psychology constrains the range of acceptable conceptions of values. Given the shortcomings of interpretivism I conclude that we should acknowledge that values may conflict. (shrink)
Ronald Dworkin claims in Life's Dominion that our tradition of religious toleration shields decisions to abort a pregnancy and to end one's life with the assistance of others because they pivot on judgements about the value of human life that are essentially spiritual. He further maintains that the state may regulate these decisions to ensure that they honour appropriately life's sacred or intrinsic value. This article disputes the first of Dworkin's claims. Tolerating other people's religious practices does not entail (...) acquiescing in conduct that is not religiously motivated but springs instead from normal moral judgements. This article also questions whether governments justifiably may protect entities or processes simply because some citizens deem them intrinsically valuable. If, despite these doubts, one concludes that the state may assume this protective role, I argue that it probably can enact tighter constraints on abortion and assisted suicide than Dworkin thinks permissible. (shrink)
Ronald Dworkin’s work on the topic of equality over the past twenty-five years or so has been enormously influential, generating a great deal of debate about equality both as a practical aim and as a theoretical ideal. The present article attempts to assess the importance of one particular aspect of this work. Dworkin claims that the acceptance of abstract egalitarian rights to equal concern and respect can be thought to provide a kind of plateau in political argument, accommodating as (...) it does a number of well-known ethical theories of social arrangement from utilitarianism to libertarianism. The article explores the moral foundations of these egalitarian rights and critically examines five specific reasons for supposing they matter in political debate. It is argued that though these reasons are perhaps less constructive than they might be reasonably expected to be, there is another more fundamental question we can ask about the scope of egalitarian rights the answer to which might ultimately help to explain their fundamental nature and importance. That question is: equality among whom? (shrink)
This is a lucid and comprehensive introduction to, and critical assessment of, Ronald Dworkin's seminal contributions to legal and political philosophy. His theories have a complexity, originality, and moral power that have excited a wide range of academic and political thinkers, and even those who disagree with him acknowledge that his ideas must be confronted and given serious consideration. His enormous output of books and papers and his formidable profusion of lectures and seminars throughout the world, in addition to (...) his teaching duties at Oxford and New York University, have made him a giant figure in contemporary thought. In short, Dworkin's theory of law is that the nature of legal argument lies in the best moral interpretation of existing social practices. His theory of Justice is that all political judgements ought to rest ultimately upon the injunction that people are equal as human beings, irrespective of the circumstances in which they are born. Dworkin does not fit into an orthodox category. his theory of law is radical in that it sees legal argument primarily about rights yet conservative in seeing it as constrained by history. He is libertarian both in valuing ambition and in asserting a right to pornography, yet socialist in believing that no person has a right to a greater share of resources than anyone else. in particular, he advocates a system that would tax people on the resources they accumulate solely through their talent alone. Because Dworkin writes for a number of audiences - sometimes the general public, sometimes academic lawyers, sometimes philosophers and economists - it is often difficult to identify the different strands of his thought. The book aims to make his theories clear and accessible and to give an overall picture of his thinking that is sympathetic yet rigorously argued. (shrink)
Professor Narveson's comments about my papers on equality are both penetrating and comprehensive. I cannot hope to discuss all the issues he raises in any detail. But there is a special problem: his main question is about what I have not said. He asks how I might defend equality of resources other than simply by describing a version of it, and of course this question will require some extended discussion. But he is right to say that this is his most (...) important question, and I should hate to lose the opportunity of encouraging discussion of it. So I shall begin with some general remarks about the defence of the idea of equality and then take up, in a very hasty and summary way, the other problems he discusses or raises. Please allow me, however, this apology and caution. I know that what I shall say about the defense of equality is at many points dogmatic and at others unmindful of very natural objections and replies. I want to answer Narveson only by showing in a rough and general way how far I think a defense of equality is possible, what kind of defense this can be, and what form it should take. (shrink)
Ronald Preston wrote little of feminism, and feminism appears to have ignored Preston. There is much, however, in Preston's work which feminists would have found sympathetic, as well as some areas for acute disagreement. This article discusses what Preston did write about feminism, and goes on to examine areas of common approach: the hermeneutic of suspicion, social ethics, and a priori commitments. It also, briefly, discusses areas of disagreement: common consensus, universalism, and eschatological realism. It ends with the question (...) of why Preston did not engage more fully with the radical changes in the position of women which occurred during his lifetime. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to examine and challenge the assumption that the theological legacy of Archbishop William Temple is best continued in the work of Ronald Preston. Preston's concerns in the areas of social ethics and ecumenical relations, as well as his championing of middle axioms, demonstrate his indebtedness to Temple's influence. However, a closer examination of the doctrinal foundations of Preston's social and ecumenical thought did not display a deep understanding of Temple's thought. This is most (...) noticeable in the area of ecclesiology. If Preston had not dismissed Temple's earlier works in favour of the 1942 Christianity and Social Order, he might have avoided developing a theory of the church whose being does not support the tasks Preston requires it to do. (shrink)
Se discute el proyecto de la "naturalización de la filosofía de la ciencia", a través de las teorías de Ronald Giere y Philip Kitcher. Ambas tienen en común la atención preferente que prestan a los procesos de decisión de los científicos individuales y la defensa de una concepción realista y racionalista de la ciencia. La comparación se lleva a cabo desde una triple perspectiva: su consideración como teorías darwinianas del desarrollo científico, su referencia a los modelos de la psicología (...) cognitiva, y su posible coherencia con la "tesis de la simetría" defendida por los sociólogos de la escuela de Edimburgo. (shrink)
This article discusses Ronald Preston's understanding of William Temple and the relationships between the two thinkers. It shows how both develop a theology of Christian realism which places great emphasis on the autonomy of the social sciences and the importance of economic expertise. Questions are raised about the appropriateness of this method, as well as their understanding of the state as an order of creation: these can easily lead to the reduction of the sphere of political morality and its (...) substitution with a form of technical rationality. After a brief discussion of the cult of the expert and the manager in contemporary British politics, and the limitation of political action through the rhetoric of ‘there is no alternative', the article concludes by calling for a remoralisation of political life against an economic reductionism which threatens to remove ethics from politics altogether. (shrink)
Ronald Preston defended the middle axiom approach to doing Christian social ethics developed by J. H. Oldham for the 1937 ‘Life and Work’ conference. Preston argued that middle axioms continue to offer the churches a relevant ecumenical method. Middle axions has since been subject to fundamental criticism by ethicists such as Duncan Forrester. It will be argued that a case study of the Church of Scotland's contribution to the devolution debate, as part of Scottish civil society, supports Preston's defence (...) of the middle axiom approach as a relevant form of political engagement in the new context of local-global politics. (shrink)
Ideal interpretation is understanding a text in the best possible way. It is usually used when the text has a canonical status, such as the Bible or the U.S. Constitution. We argue that Zhu Xi’s view about interpreting the Four Books and Ronald Dworkin’s view about constitutional interpretation are examples of ideal interpretation and that their basic principles are similar. Each holds, roughly, that their target text contains moral truth; that the author’s mind requires the mediation of learning; that (...) the purpose of interpretation is not only to lead the reader to the moral truth but to become a better person; that all propositions are about the same moral truth or about political justice; that the interpretation ultimately must come from oneself, purged of prejudices; and that the only correct interpretation is one that captures the original meaning. (shrink)
Ronald Giere and others aspire to 'naturalize science' by examining scientific activity as they would any other natural phenomenon — scientifically. Giere aims to fashion a theory of science that is naturalistic, realistic, and evolutionary, and to thus carve for himself a niche between foundationalist philosophies of science (positing abstract criteria of rationality) on the one hand, and relativist sociologies of science on the other. Giere's approach is appealing because it allows that science is a human endeavor pursued by (...) humans using human cognitive skills. The cognitive skills most salient to science, in Giere's view, are the ability to represent the world more or less accurately, and the ability to choose more or less accurately between available theories. These skills, Giere believes, have been endowed by evolution. We believe that Giere's account is inadequate because it gives short shrift to rationality. Giere places too much emphasis on natural modeling skills and on natural heuristics for judging the relative merits of these models, and too little emphasis on the systematic attempts to reflect on, find fault with, and modify, models that characterize so much of scientific activity. This aspect of science and other human endeavor — the creative, contemplative, reflective, in short the rational aspect of representation — is all but lacking in Giere's study. Thus, Giere's account of science, like other naturalist accounts, excludes precisely that which is most important, and which most needs to be explained, about science. (shrink)
Liberalism is a wonderful theory, but its adherents have a difficult time explaining why. In his Tanner Lecture entitled Foundations of Liberal Equality , Ronald Dworkin proposes to defend liberalism in a new way. Dworkin is not content to view liberalism as a political compromise in which people set aside their personal convictions in the interest of social peace. Instead, he undertakes to make liberal political theory “continuous” with personal ethics, by describing an ethical position that endorses liberalism as (...) a matter of conviction. (shrink)
It has long been recognized that Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling is a cryptogram. Encoded within a series of reflections and commentaries on Genesis 22 is a deeper message directed at a reader or readers presumably capable of deciphering the hidden meaning. That this is true is suggested by the book's epigraph: ‘What Tarquinius Superbus said in the garden by means of the poppies, the son understood but the messenger did not.’.
The European post-Marxist work Empire by Hardt and Negri points to the theological/metaphysical underpinnings of modernity and global capitalism in the medieval shift from Trinitarian orthodoxy to nominalism. Though Hardt and Negri reject religious or transcendental approaches to the social, their work shows remarkable resemblances with the ontological critique of modernity and economism mounted by John Milbank and Stephen Long among others. By contrast the considerable oeuvre of Ronald Preston on capitalism lacks a deep ontological critique. The return of (...) ontology to theological economics in recent contributions from Gorringe, Long, Milbank and Northcott marks a significant recovery of a more theological orthodoxy, but also a more thoroughgoing critique of economism whether in capitalist or socialist guise. It is moreover a critique which highlights the significance of the economic actions of churches and Christians. (shrink)
Ronald Preston found Alasdair MacIntyre's analysis of plurality and incommensurability unconvincing, holding that, ultimately, a common rationality enabled disparate perspectives to achieve shared positions. This commitment made Preston sceptical of theologies which drew on MacIntyre to deny the possibility of meaningful dialogue with economics but he ignored the argument that shared liberal roots might constrain his own critique of market institutions. Preston's theological conversation with economics assumes a state-based capitalism, political dominance over economics and a thin plurality. Globalisation challenges (...) such foundations severely but MacIntyre's focus on communities of tradition offers only a weak challenge to global economic power. Preston's understanding of the significance of finitude in economics and MacIntyre's focus on the problems of plurality and the communitarian response are both important in any response to contemporary globalisation. This article explores whether the respective virtues of Preston's and MacIntyre's approaches can coalesce in a theology adequate to the global era. (shrink)
My objective is to extend Ronald Green’s account of postmodernism by asking how postmodern ethicists should interview business people. I note the use of the interview method in current business ethics research. I then present Jeffrey Stout’s criticism of Robert Bellah’s interview techniques used in Habits of the Heart, which prompts questions about what constitutes a postmodern interview. In conclusion I seek clarification about whether and in what sense Ron Green intends to be a “foundationalist postmodern business ethicist.”.
Advertising and Consumption: Advertising and Social Change by Ronald Berman, Beverley Hills and London: Sage, , 1981, pp 159, £11.95 and £5.50 The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981 pp 248, £1.75 Conspicuous Consumption by Roger S Mason, Farnbrough: Gower, 1981, pp x + 156, £9.50 Channels of Desire by Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen, New York and London: McGraw-Hill, 1982, pp viii + 312, $7.95.
The text in which the original JRE editors announced the mission of their newly launched scholarly journal is susceptible to different readings. While Ronald Green has interpreted it as an intention to "effect" a "movement from Christian ethics to religious ethics," the author expresses doubt that any such general framework of "religious ethics" can be discerned in or imposed on distinctive religious traditions. He suggests that the problem of "parochialism and Western bias" is best addressed not through the imperialism (...) of the generic but through sustained attention to the distinctive and particular in all its variations. (shrink)